National Life Safety Group
by Paul Koscinski
20 December 2016
Meth labs can
be found in all condos, new as well as old.
Illicit drugs are, as their classification suggests, illegal. Most
illicit substances were at one point produced for legitimate purposes,
but are now either strictly controlled or no longer available.
manufacture of illicit substances for sale on an underworld market
takes place at clandestine laboratories. Labs engaged in the
manufacture of illicit drugs such as marihuana, MDMA (ecstasy), or
Methamphetamine are by design clandestine, this is done in fear of
police investigations leading to their discovery and prosecution under
Operators of clan labs take great care in concealing their
activities, and by doing so exhibit a number of behaviours or
indicators that otherwise appear innocuous. Furthermore, because of the
illegal nature of the manufacturing process there are no controls that
account for health and safety of the operators, or any unsuspecting
persons who reside or otherwise find themselves in the vicinity of the
This condo meth
lab in Toronto blew out a wall and damaged an elevator.
The manufacture of Methamphetamine likely poses the greatest threat to
safety for a variety of reasons including exposure to toxic chemicals
used in the manufacturing process, the hazardous waste by-product,
fires, explosions, and residual toxicity left behind in the place where
manufacturing took place.
There are also a number of security threats
posed by clan labs, such as persons looking to break into clandestine
labs to steal the drugs and/or profits from the sale of the drugs, and
any security measure put into place by the operators of the labs. The
security measures may be in the form of booby traps concealed on the
perimeter or inside the clandestine lab, which may cause harm to anyone
unfamiliar with their location and operation including building staff,
utilities workers, emergency responders, or any other unsuspecting
person who may find themselves nearby.
Some of the indicators to look for in a clandestine laboratory include:
|Smell of chemicals or other
|Unusually large amounts of waste
being disposed of through regular
garbage collection, or disposal of apparent waste through methods other
than regular garbage collection
|Window coverings drawn closed at
all times, or windows being opened at
times to vent unusual odours.
|Unusual concerns for security
exhibited by occupants. Surveillance
equipment may be installed outside windows or doors.
|Occupants pay rent in cash, and
may pay for a number of rental payment
periods in advance
|Occupants unwilling to entertain
inspections of the premises by
building staff, and may change locks in order to prevent entry in
Upon inspection staff notice unusual equipment including large plastic
buckets, plastic or metal drums, containers with apparent chemicals,
chemistry equipment such as glass vessels, burners, stands, hoses,
batteries, acetone, large amounts of matches and empty blister packs of
cold medication (pseudoephedrine). In this case it is recommended to
immediately evacuate the unit and call emergency responders.
Amphetamine was first discovered in 1887, and it continues to be used
today to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
At the height of its popularity Amphetamine was sold over the
counter and promoted as an aid to wakefulness and weight loss. Its use
became strictly controlled following increased rates of addiction and a
host of negative side effects, which led to a healthcare crisis.
Amphetamine experienced a resurgence on the illicit drug market and
became popular as “biker speed” when it was manufactured in clandestine
laboratories operated by a number of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
clandestine manufacture of Amphetamine was possible due to the
availability of phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), found in a common pool
cleaning chemical. P2P eventually became a controlled substance and was
scheduled as a pre-cursor, and therefore less readily available.
The illicit drug market did not take long to discover a new method of
manufacturing speed with the use of ephedrine. The ephedrine derived
speed was actually Methamphetamine, a drug that was far superior in
potency and negative side effects to Amphetamine.
Both Amphetamine and
Methamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants, but in addition
Methamphetamine is a neurotoxin – a substance that is destructive to
nerve tissue. The superior potency of Methamphetamine also makes it
highly addictive, far worse than Amphetamine.
There are many different methods or recipes used in the manufacture in
Methamphetamine, but they all require the use of ephedrine or
pseudoephedrine. Some of the common chemicals used in the manufacture
of Methamphetamine include:
Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (cold
Any of the above may be hazardous and may be found inside a clandestine
laboratory used to manufacture Methamphetamine.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
If upon inspection of a
premises chemicals and/or chemical processes are found to be in
operation it is recommended that the premises be evacuated immediately
and emergency responders called.
Do not attempt to turn off any
chemical process in operation, as the inappropriate shut down of a
process may be dangerous.
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